When considering which is the best elliptical for home use, there are a number of factors that come into consideration. At EllipticalTrainerExercise.com, our goal is to do nothing but provide well-researched articles for the consumer to make informed decisions before investing in a residential elliptical machine.
How We Determine the Best Elliptical for Home Use 2014
There are a few qualities we look for in elliptical trainers. Some of the best qualities are related to the elliptical workout itself, making sure we choose only those ellipticals offering the smoothest stride without bumps and without choppiness or jerky action.
Also we considered optimal stride length, where 18″ or above is really ideal (20″ is our preferred middle ground for fixed-stride machines).
In considering elliptical brands, we’ve decided only to bother with those brands showing a consistent performance in the market.
Finally, though we enjoy and prefer adjustable stride and adjustable motion ellipticals, we were most interested in value for investment, or ROI. Ellipticals are an investment, which is why this website exists: to ensure consumers have well-researched reviews to make better buying decisions.
We want you to make a purchase based on testing, research and objective reviews – all of which, to the best of our ability, we have provided here below.
Best Ellipticals for Home Use by Category
Our categories are best overall, best budget elliptical, best new elliptical for 2011 and 2012, and best club elliptical.
We have decided to link to our reviews throughout this post, with a couple of exceptions where we are still working on those reviews. Overall, there should be an elliptical here that would suit your needs as you consider the best elliptical for your home
Best Elliptical for Home Use Overall
In a class all its own, competing with Precor and LifeFitness and giving them a run for their money – the illustrious Yowza Captiva. The reasons this elliptical trainer remains our top pick are the following:
- Patented Cardio-Core, Counter-Rotational Swing Arm: targets abdominals during your workout like Sanibel and now the Pompano – exclusive to Yowza Fitness.
- Adjustable Stride: from 18″ to 32″
- Variable Motion Elliptical: Vary the motion to target different muscle groups – never out-grow your Captiva VME.
- Small Footprint: 66″ x 33″ x 66″ – In Use length: 81″
- Excellent Warranty and Service: Lifetime on Braking System and Frame, 5 Yrs Parts and Electronics, 2 Yrs Labor in-home, 60 Days Cash-back Guarantee
- Innovative Elliptical Machine with Patented Technology: Variable Motion, Counter-Rotational Cardio Core, Sure-Fit Pedals
- Club-Value, Low Prices: Extremely High Value thanks to Online-Only, Factory Direct pricing
- Durable, Smooth and Large User Capacity at 400 Pounds
For more details, see our review of the Captiva.
Best New Elliptical for the Home 2011
When Sole Fitness makes fitness equipment, they make a quality piece of equipment. They are known for quality especially to those who have had the privilege of staying at a Hilton hotel (where their treadmills can be used in your room).
Customer reviews for the Sole E95 and Sole E55 trainers have remained high, and these proven models were updated for 2011 and their upgraded models are favorites among customers. These are tried-and-true ellipticals with a power incline feature, and different positions available at the touch of a button for increased workout diversity and muscle toning.
These models also provide an ergonomic foot pedal design, 20″ and both allow for fine-tuned adjustments using a ‘worm-drive’ adjuster on each foot pad. The design of the foot pedals seems like a minor detail, but physical therapists help to design these details to lower the risk of injury and allow a wide variety of users to enjoy their workout.
Translation: fewer injuries, no numb toes and customized feel for everyone using the E95 and E55 from Sole Fitness.
For updated models for 2011, these two are excellent examples of “time-tested” and quality elliptical machines that meet our criteria for high value.
You won’t be disappointed with Sole, that’s been our consistent experience in our testing.
Best New Ellipticals for 2012: It’s a TIE
The best new additions to the “best elliptical for home use” in our opinion are the Smooth 8.0LC and the Yowza Pompano. We deliberated over the pro’s and con’s of each, and at last decided both deserved the mention.
Why the Smooth 8.0LC is a great buy.
We enjoy the competition in the market place between Yowza and Smooth Fitness, what it has meant is innovation and quality products. In the case of Smooth Fitness, they have released a couple of newer ellipticals for the 2012 season.
One is a ‘budget’ class elliptical, but the top-shelf product is their new Smooth 8.0LC. The “LC” stands for “Light Commercial.”
In typical Smooth Fitness fashion, the 8.0LC is not what you would call compact – but it fits in most homes (it was designed to be used for either home or light commercial use). What sets it apart is the great stability, durable construction and challenging workout.
Stride length of 21″ (fixed), and 24 intensity levels, with 21 programs ensure a vigorous workout. Thanks to Smooth’s ratio on the upper body ‘action arms,’ this presents the user with an actual upper-body workout.
Limited Time Warranty Special: The Smooth Fitness 8.0LC offers a limited time 10 YEAR WARRANTY on all parts and electronics (this is for their launch only), and Lifetime on frame and magnetic braking system, with 2 yeas in-home labor if needed.
You can bet this elliptical will out-last most others in this under $2,000 price range.
For more information (our in-depth review will be coming in due time), please see their Smooth 8.0LC Elliptical page.
What makes Yowza’s Pompano a high value?
We have long been fans of the Cardio Core motion of the patented Yowza Fitness swing arms, which target the user’s core muscles. What some have wished is that Yowza Fitness would release a cheaper model offering this technology.
Thankfully, Yowza listened to the demand of the market place.
The Yowza Pompano is one of the best ellipticals we have come across, and is under $2,000 but offers a value at twice that price, easily (in our opinion).
Unlike the top model at Yowza, this is a fixed stride elliptical at 20″ – but is nonetheless tied for best elliptical for home use for 2012 (it is out now).
Offering an iPod dock (unlike the 8.0LC above), speakers, water bottle holder, adjustable fan and heart rate monitor (wireless or pulse grip) – this elliptical outshines many ellipticals for hundreds less than the competition.
It offers 16 levels of resistance and supports up to 400 pounds – and is smooth, silent and sturdy. Definitely a best-buy elliptical for the home in 2012!
Read our Yowza Pompano review for customer reviews and our in-depth look at this excellent release from Yowza Fitness.
Best Budget Elliptical: Smooth 3.0DS
The new Smooth 3.0DS is priced just right, a little over $1,000, but offers variable stride, smooth motion and a combination between a stair stepper and elliptical motion. Incredible workout, and value – typical for Smooth Fitness.
Best Club Quality Elliptical
Without a doubt, the Cybex 750AT arc trainer is the best elliptical at the club-quality design there is. In our experience (hands-on through gym testing), the workout on a Cybex 750AT out-shines that of any Precor, Diamondback or LifeFitness model (all of which are typical benchmarks in the industry).
There are very few elliptical trainers that can compete at the level of the Cybex Arc trainers, though they are club-quality with a club-price. The club models of the Cybex Arc Trainers are over $5,000, some close to $8,000.
The 750AT is designed to take a beating in the gym, and the craftsmanship shows it. This elliptical stands in a class its own, combining proprietary arc training which is not the same as an elliptical motion.
Cybex claims their patented design offers even more of an ergonomic and runner-like motion than ellipticals do, whether that is true or not is for physicians and physical therapists to debate over.
What we like about the Cybex 750AT are that it burns more calories than ellipticals or treadmills when higher intensity levels are applied. This is thanks to a load-dependent resistance. What this means is that the user’s weight is taken into consideration before the machine offers resistance.
This is a very unique experience in cardio or strength workout machines.
I can safely attest that this machine will maximize your workout, giving the most efficient workout of any trainer of this type.
Finally, the adjustable motion that allows anything from an elliptical-like stride, to a stair-stepper-like arc, to a “climber” type of action leaves the muscles exhausted and really feeling the burn.
Our full review of the Cybex line will be released in due time.
Which is the Best Elliptical for Home Use?
There are factors out of our control, such as your budget and your physical needs. If we were asked which is “the best” of the bunch, we would choose the Cybex 750AT – but this is a commercial product designed for industrial or commercial use.
For use in the home, the best model is the Yowza Captiva, without question. It offers a stellar value, is built to last and is the most innovative design of them all. Apart from that model, the rest of the ellipticals here reviewed will fit most budgets and accomplish your fitness goals without a doubt, or injury for that matter.
Only you can decide for yourself which model would suit your needs most – and that is truly the best elliptical for home use.
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